Great talk “Distributed bug tracking for Debian with SD” at DebConf

This is a quick report and notes about the great presentation made at DebConf on “Distributed bug tracking for Debian with SD” by Christine Spang (http://penta.debconf.org/dc10_schedule/events/591.en.html)

Hopefully, the slides are gonna be published soon, but in the meantime, you have them in the video recording (see link above) – EDIT: she has published here slides : see her blog post.

For those who don’t know SD, they may refer to a talk given by its author, Jesse Vincent, at the recent RMLL/LSM 2010 : Peer to peer issue tracking with SD and Prophet (video recording coming soon : EDIT: a premiere recording is available here).

She draws 2 main use cases in her speech, which is exactly the kind of features we’ve been thinking about for fetchbugs4.me :

  • as a Debian maintainer : SD may be used to clone into your local SD repository all tickets related to your activity on your packages in debbugs.
  • or as both a Debian maintainer and upstream developper, you’d combine bugs from Debian’s debbugs and upstream’s bugtracker in one same bug database.

What would be even better is to be able to link all of these bugs to each-other… but I’m not sure this is yet possible.

Christine started implementing debbugs (Debian’s bugtracker) support in SD. For reference, there’s a wishlist about it in 590156 : sd: Provide sync-ing with debbugs. The implementation is still in alpha state, in read-only mode only.

Christine has implemented a new method getmachinereadablebuglog() for debbugs’ SOAP interface. It seems to send some Perl Data::Dumper output, which is probably fine for SD as SD is written in Perl, like debbugs… but it may be better if it was some more generally accepted format, like JSON maybe.

Among the topics discussed, was the absence of any standard API to connect to bugtrackers, meaning that SD needs to include many different client code modules for each of the trackers different APIs over different kinds of protocols. I’ve raised (through my IRC comments, watching the presentation through the stream), that there’s a proposal for such a standard that exists : OSLC-CM. Still, it’s not widely implemented, in particular in Open Source tools (see another post of mine on the subject). I think it would be great if SD could be a client of OSLC-CM compatible trackers, hence I’ve filed a wishlist.

Also, I suggested that maybe it would be interesting to be able to browse the mail threads of comments on Debian bugs, much like with “bts –mbox show 12345” command (which opens mutt on the bugs’ thread, for me), when in offline mode, with SD. Maybe the bts command could just use SD as a backend for all its operations.

Another very interesting feature may be to allow “transfering” a Debian bug to an upstream bugtracker, through SD. Dunno if that will be possible.

Finally the code may be found : in github.

I’m looking forward to testing it.

6 thoughts on “Great talk “Distributed bug tracking for Debian with SD” at DebConf”

  1. Hi, I just wanted to point out that to replace Data::Dumper, you don’t need to get into JSON. You have YAML which is ubiquitous, efficient, and is able to serialize all kinds of objects..

  2. Well, the thing is that JSON may help integrate directly in mashups, and also it’s one of the formats mandated by OSLC-CM… hence its interest to me.

  3. Hi, thank you for this post I agree with you that it would be interesting to be able to browse the mail threads of comments on Debian bugs, much like with “bts –mbox show 12345” command (which opens mutt on the bugs’ thread, for me), when in offline mode, with SD.

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